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3 dead, 35 injured after 'Unite the Right' rally sparks violence in Charlottesville

by: Bob D Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk Updated:

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - A Saturday rally in Emancipation Park in Virginia around the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee ended before it began, as authorities shut the event down due to violence.

The Virginia State Police declared an unlawful assembly and ordered the crowd to disperse about a half-hour before the protest was to begin.

After rally attendees and protesters dispersed, a car rammed into a group of people Saturday afternoon.

Just a couple hours later, a helicopter flying over the fray with two police officers crashed. 

The Associated Press confirmed with hospital officials that a 32-year-old woman crossing the street was killed, and 19 others were treated for injuries. Altogether 35 people were treated for injuries.

The Associated Press confirmed that the driver has been arrested.

Read the original report below.

Supporters and protesters were seen gathering Saturday morning at the rally site.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said the event could be “the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.”

 

Alt-right activists marched in a torch-lit rally late Friday through the University of Virginia campus and clashed with rival protesters, CNN reported.

 

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Protesters chanted “blood and soil” and “one people, one nation, end immigration” as they rallied around a statue of Thomas Jefferson, WWBT reported.

The march occurred several hours before a Saturday rally in Emancipation Park around the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Police believe the rally could attract up to 6,000 people, CNN reported. The Southern Poverty Law Center said the event could be “the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.”

Police broke up Friday’s march, calling it “unlawful assembly.” University officials condemned the gathering. Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer said in a statement that the rally was “a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance” that passed by the statue Jefferson, who founded the university in 1819.

“Everyone has a right under the First Amendment to express their opinion peaceably, so here's mine: not only as the Mayor of Charlottesville, but as a UVA faculty member and alumnus, I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus," Signer said.

 

 

University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan said she “strongly” condemned the clashes.

"Law enforcement continues to investigate the incident, and it is my hope that any individuals responsible for criminal acts are held accountable,” she said in a statement.